October 27, 2014
Re: Letter to James Cote
It seems “Mainers” for Fair Bear Bear Hunting will stop at no lengths to silence actual Mainers.
You have failed to convince a judge to muzzle the state’s bear experts from telling the truth about the impact of Question 1. So now, you attempt to twist words, take comments out of context and to convince the Maine Wildlife Conservation Council to remove our advertising from the public airwaves.
Why don’t you tell real Maine citizens that the organization you work for, the Humane Society of the United States, opposed ALL bear hunting in New Jersey and Maryland? Why don’t you tell them that you oppose any effort to hunt Florida black bears even though they have far exceeded the population goals that indicate a healthy and growing bear population?
Why don’t you explain why the organization that pays you to run the Question 1 campaign removed the following quote from its website during the campaign here in Maine?
“As a matter of principle, The HSUS opposes the hunting of any living creature for fun, trophy, or sport because of the animal trauma, suffering, and death that result. A humane society should not condone the killing of any sentient creature in the name of sport.”
Why don’t you explain how this statement is in line with the statements that HSUS makes that it is only opposed to “certain” hunting practices?
The truth is that you don’t think you can win if you tell Maine voters that you could not even raise 5% of your campaign funds inside Maine. That you had to get almost all of the funding for Question 1 from your Washington DC- based employer. That without these outside dollars, there wasn’t even enough public support to qualify Question 1 for the ballot?
Now, to address the allegations in your letter:
The woman in the ad is not “purportedly” screaming in response to a bear attack, as you claim. That is indeed her voice screaming during her son’s actual 911 call as she is being attacked in front of her children. The attack did indeed take place in Florida, a state that your organization worked to prevent from actually controlling its bear population.
Maine voters need to know that the public safety methods allowable if Question 1 were to pass, would only take place after a problem, such as a bear attack or a home entry has already happened. After the bear attacked the woman in Florida, authorities killed the bear.
Maine’s hunting seasons currently in place help prevent the over population of bears that have been an issue in Central Florida, New Jersey and elsewhere. Maine voters should not have to wait for something bad to happen before we control bear numbers. Your definition of “preserving public safety” is not one that I would trust for my own family.
Your use of Maine bear biologist Randy Cross’s emails is completely disingenuous. The email was written in 2012, and was related to someone’s question about encountering bears under Maine’s current program of controlling bears. Mr. Cross, Judy Camuso, Jen Vashon, and others have all been open that they are very concerned about their ability to control Maine’s bear population without the methods Question 1 would prohibit.
The truth is that bear attacks and conflicts are increasing all across the country. Your contention that attacks like the ones we reference are somehow not relevant to Maine’s Question 1 is based on one fact. Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife have done a wonderful job of controlling bear numbers for decades. That gives you the luxury of claiming that attacks that have occurred in New Jersey, Florida, Michigan, California and elsewhere aren’t a real fear in Maine.
Maine has 30,000 bears. And they have increasingly been seen close and within human population centers as both the number of bears and humans continue to increase. Just this last year we’ve seen them in Kennebunk, Topsham, and just last week a nuisance bear had to be killed in Lebanon.
Under your plan, Mainers would have the ability to contact the authorities only after something bad has happened. Our ads make sure that actual Mainers know what that looks and sounds like. We believe that makes those ads very relevant.
James Cote, Campaign Manager- Save Maine’s Bear Hunt/NO on 1!
Katie Hansberry’s letter asking the Maine Wildlife Conservation Council to take down recent ads can be found by CLICKING HERE.